The summer break is over and it’s time for the Formula One season to recommence at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps. Featuring the likes of Eau Rouge, La Source, and Pouhon, the circuit is a real favourite amongst drivers and fans alike.
The longest circuit on the calendar is 7.004km and drivers will lap it 44 times. Due to the nature of the circuit it can be raining at one part of the circuit and completely dry at another meaning weather conditions can come more into play than they necessarily do at other races.
Number of Laps: 44
Circuit Length: 7.004km
Number of Corners: 19
Lap Record: 1:47.263 Sebastian Vettel (2009)
Previous Belgian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 6
Most Successful Team: Ferrari (16 wins)
DRS Zones: 2
Pirelli Tyres: Medium, Soft and Supersoft
Lewis Hamilton has clawed back the gap to Nico Rosberg and currently leads the championship by 19 points. He does however have the knowledge of an engine penalty hanging over him and it could be taken at Spa.
The circuit features a mixture of long straights and and fast corners and results in one of the fastest speeds of the year at 235km/h. The nature of the track means teams will have to find a balance between low drag and downforce. There are plenty of overtaking opportunities meaning qualifying is not as key as at other races.
Last year Hamilton led home a Mercedes 1-2, ahead of Rosberg, with Romain Grosjean in third for Lotus. In the two years prior to that it has been Red Bull drivers standing on the top step of the podium. Red Bull have been in good form in recent times and look the team most likely to challenge Mercedes.
In the German Grand Prix – the last race before the summer break – Hamilton finished ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Rosberg was fourth after a torrid race which included picking up a penalty for running another driver off the track. The Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were fifth and sixth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, Jenson Button, Valtteri Bottas, and Sergio Perez.
Lewis Hamilton is the driver going into the summer break with the championship lead. Having moved ahead at the Hungarian Grand Prix, the gap now stands at 19 points to team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg got pole position but bogged down at the start, allowing Hamilton to sweep past and remain untroubled at the front for the whole race. Rosberg also lost out to both Red Bulls and – while going wheel to wheel with Max Verstappen – he picked out a five second stop/go penalty for running another driver off the track. As if that wasn’t bad enough for Rosberg, a stopwatch issue at the penalised pit-stop cost him even more time.
It was Daniel Ricciardo who finished second in the race – closing on Hamilton in the closing laps but not by enough. Verstappen finished in third place ahead of Rosberg who had to settle for fourth following his torrid afternoon.
Ferrari were nowhere at Sebastian Vettel’s home Grand Prix, finishing a distant fifth and sixth. Nico Hulkenberg was last of the unlapped drivers in seventh, half a minute back on Kimi Raikkonen. Jenson Button picked up four points for McLaren by finishing eighth, passing Valtteri Bottas late on as the Williams driver struggled on old tyres. The Finn did manage to hold on to finish ninth ahead of Sergio Perez who got the last point.
Esteban Gutierrez was 12th ahead of Fernando Alonso who faced extreme fuel saving at the end of the race, dropping out of the points for McLaren. Romain Grosjean, Carlos Sainz, Daniil Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen were 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th respectively. Rounding out the finishers were Pascal Wehrlein, Marcus Ericsson, Jolyon Palmer, and Rio Haryanto. Both Felipe Nasr and Felipe Massa retired from the race.
Formula One now heads into the summer break with the next race taking place in Belgium on the 26th – 28th August.
Following the Hungarian Grand Prix, the German Grand Prix is the last race before the summer break. Lewis Hamilton leads the championship by six points following his win last time out, but a win for Nico Rosberg on home soil would see him move back to the top of the table.
The Hungarian Grand Prix was a somewhat uneventful race but it did have some close battles, particularly between Red Bull and Ferrari. In their fight for second in the constructors championship Ferrari have the edge – but only just. Just one point separates the two teams so it is finely poised.
In Hungary it was Daniel Ricciardo who joined the Mercedes duo on the podium but Sebastian Vettel had a late charge and could have taken it. Similarly, Kimi Raikkonen closed in on fifth placed Max Verstappen but was unable to find a way pass. Raikkonen was voted Driver of the Day for his charge through from 14th.
Number of Laps: 67
Number of Corners: 17
Lap Record: 1:13.780 Kimi Raikkonen (2004)
Previous German Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 4
Most Successful Team: Ferrari (22 wins)
DRS Zones: 2
Pirelli Tyres: Supersoft, Soft and Medium
The German Grand Prix was last held in 2014 – at the Hockenheimring – having been cancelled last year. That race was one by Rosberg and he will undoubtedly be looking to repeat that feat this year.
The track features a mix of fast long straights as well as technical corners. Due to the nature of the circuit there are some heavy braking zones into medium to low speed corners. Drivers will change gear approximately 49 times per lap and will reach a top speed of 350kmh. The Hockenheimring is also considered a power circuit.
Pirelli have brought the same tyre compounds as were used in Hungary – the Supersoft, Soft and Mediums.
Lewis Hamilton has taken the championship lead for the first time this season following his win at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
It was his team-mate Nico Rosberg who started from pole position but Hamilton took control after the first corner and, apart from pit stops, never lost the lead.
The Red Bull duo battled for the lead at the start of the race but ultimately it was Hamilton who came out on top with Rosberg dropping to third. The Mercedes driver quickly disposed of Daniel Ricciardo and it was another Silver Arrows 1-2 come the end of the race. Ricciardo finished third – his third podium in as many years at the Hungaroring.
Behind the top three Sebastian Vettel finished fourth for Ferrari although he was close to a podium finish. He started reeling Ricciardo in in the closing stages of the race but ran out of time to pass him, instead finishing just seven tenths behind the Red Bull. That wasn’t the only close battle in the last 20 laps as Raikkonen fought with Max Verstappen. It isn’t the first time this season that the grid’s oldest driver has gone wheel to wheel with the youngest – Raikkonen trailed Verstappen at the Spanish Grand Prix, the Dutchman’s first win.
Both drivers were complaining over the radio about each other throughout their fight. Raikkonen complained that Verstappen was moving about too much and if he continued then they would make contact with each other. Verstappen had been given warnings about exceeding track limits and he complained over his team radio that Raikkonen was exceeding them too. They did have a minor coming together as Verstappen moved into the space Raikkonen was already occupying. It resulted in Raikkonen losing part of his front wing but both were able to continue. The gap over the line was just four tenths of a second and Raikkonen demonstrated his frustration by passing the Red Bull driver after they reached the chequered flag.
Fernando Alonso finished where he had started the race – in seventh – while team-mate Jenson Button battled hydraulic issues from early on and eventually became the race’s only retirement. Carlos Sainz was eighth for Toro Rosso with Valtteri Bottas ninth and Nico Hulkenberg tenth.
Sergio Perez was 11th ahead of Jolyon Palmer – who had been running in the points before a spin dropped him down the order again. Esteban Gutierrez finished 13th – picking up a five second penalty for ignoring blue flags – with Romain Grosjean 14th and Kevin Magnussen 15th. Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Nasr, Felipe Massa, Pascal Wehrlein, Marcus Ericsson, and Rio Haryanto completed the 21 finishers.
There is a quick turnaround with the next race being this weekend in Germany.
The Hungarian Grand Prix has been on the Formula One calendar since 1986, with the circuit having been purpose built for the sport.
Lewis Hamilton goes into the weekend having won his home race at Silverstone where he reduced the championship gap to just a point. Nico Rosberg has led from the start of the season but the momentum is currently with Hamilton. The three leading teams at the minute – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – have all won at the circuit at the Hungaroring in the past.
Number of Laps: 70
Number of Corners: 14
Lap Record: 1:19.071 Michael Schumacher (2004)
Previous Hungarian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 6
Most Successful Team: McLaren (11 wins)
DRS Zones: 2
Pirelli Tyres: Medium, Soft and Supersoft
The circuit has been resurfaced for the 2016 event and Pirelli have brought the Medium, Soft and Supersoft compound tyres. Thermal degradation can be an issue due to the high temperatures normally experienced. The Hungaroring requires an emphasis on mechanical grip with a number of low speed corners. It has a low average speed while brake wear is medium.
It is often compared to Monaco due to being a tight and twisty track, although obviously there is a lot more run off. This means that drivers normally place a lot of emphasis on qualifying as track position can be key.
The championship is finely poised at the top with just a point separating Hamilton and Rosberg. Kimi Raikkonen is third, six points ahead of Daniel Ricciardo with Sebastian Vettel just eight points ahead of Max Verstappen. Last year saw the Mercedes duo suffer a number of misfortunes allowing Vettel to win. He had been leading a Ferrari 1-2 before Raikkonen unfortunately retired. Daniil Kvyat and Ricciardo were second and third respectively. Ricciardo has previously won the race in 2014.
A number of drivers in Formula One history took their first wins in the sport at the Hungaroring including Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Following Button’s highs in Austria, the team were disappointed to finish 12th and 13th in tricky conditions at Silverstone. They scored their best results of the season last year in Hungary so will no doubt be trying to repeat their form this year.
Both Williams drivers finished outside the points at the British Grand Prix while both Force India drivers finished in the points. There are 19 points between the two teams and Force India are aiming to close the gap and claim fourth in the constructors championship. Ferrari are just six points ahead of Red Bull while Mercedes are well clear at the top.